Joab Captain of the Host

2 Samuel

Joab Captain of the Host

May 28th, 1961 @ 7:30 PM

2 Samuel 10

And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians: And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good. And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem. And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together. And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.
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JOAB, CAPTAIN OF THE HOST

DR. W. A. CRISWELL

2 Samuel 2:25-31

5-28-61    7:30 p.m.

In the sermon tonight, we follow one of the Homeric, heroic characters of the Word of God, an unusual man, a man of tremendous courage and valor.  As a passage of Scripture for us to read, just by introduction, sort of, kind of, turn in 2 Samuel to chapter 2; 2 Samuel, chapter 2.  And let us read from verse 25 to verse 31.  This is by no means other than just a word of introduction as we follow tonight the life of Joab, the Captain Of the Hosts, the leader of the armies of David.  Second Samuel, chapter 2, verses 25 through 31; we read it together.

And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on top of a hill.

Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? How long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?

And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.

So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.

And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim.

And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel.

But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and threescore men died.

[2 Samuel 2:25-31]

            This is just an introduction to the life of Joab, concerning whom our message is taken up tonight.  Joab was the son of Zeruiah, the sister of David.  She had three able and gifted sons: Joab, the eldest, Abishai, the second boy, and Asahel, the third boy.  Joab therefore was the nephew of David, David’s sister’s son.  When David sought to make the city of the Jebusites, Jerusalem, the capital of his new kingdom, he found himself unable, as had others, to storm the fortress.  It was up there on a hill with the Kidron Valley here and the Hinnom Valley here.  And where that point came to an abrupt and precipitous halt, there was a spring.  And the wall of the city encompassed that spring.  And they could war against it, they could fight against it, they could besiege it forever.

Well, people up there, on that high wall on that high hill with ample supply of water, could withstand a siege forever, just pile into that area of food and just live out any kind of an onslaught.  So David said, “If there is a man among my armies that can storm and capture this fortress of the Jebusites, he shall be captain of the hosts, general commander of the army” [2 Samuel 5:6-8; 1 Chronicles 11:5-6].   And Joab learned that there was an entrance on the inside of that wall, that citadel, down to that spring at the foot of the mountain.  So he made his way into that spring in come kind of a passage that he discovered, and with his men, he climbed up that stairway and that incline that led down to the spring from the inside of the city.  And the city was unprotected.  They had never dreamed that entrance could be gained thereby.  It had never happened before.  It was impregnable and invincible as far as the Jebusites were concerned.

            They taunted David when David’s army surrounded it.  And they said, “We are going to put our feeble and our crippled on the wall, that they may fight against and overcome the armies of the besiegers” [2 Samuel 5:6].  And they mocked David’s men.  But they did not count for the shrewdness of Joab.  So Joab entered that way through the spring, entered that way through the night into the city, having gained entrance into the heart of it, threw open the walls, threw open the gates into the walls.  And the armies of David stormed in, and that became the capital of the kingdom of David, Jerusalem [2 Samuel 5:9].  And it was captured through the ingenuity and the strategy and the shrewdness of Joab.  So Joab became captain of the hosts [2 Samuel 5:6-10; 1 Chronicles 11:4-6].

            Now we are introduced to Joab—not in that story, that was later given in Samuel and in Chronicles—we are introduced to Joab in chapter 2 of 2 Samuel [2 Samuel 2:13].  Abner is the captain of the armies of Saul; Saul is dead.  Saul’s father and Abner’s father were brothers, so Abner and Saul were first cousins.  And when Saul came to the kingdom he made Abner captain of his armies [2 Samuel 14:50, 17:55].

After the death of Saul, Abner took one of the sons of Saul, Ish-bosheth, and made him king over Israel [2 Samuel 2:8-9], while Judah had anointed David king down at Hebron [2 Samuel 5:3].  So, upon a day—now, this is our introduction of Joab—upon a day, Abner and his men are at the pool of Gibeon, and Joab, with the servants of David, happened to run into him.  And there on the other side of the pool is Abner, the captain of the armies of Ish-bosheth [of] the house of Saul, and on this side of the pool is Joab, captain of the hosts of David [2 Samuel 2:12-13].  So Abner says to Joab, “Instead of our armies fighting, you choose twelve men, and I will choose twelve men and let them fight.  And whoever wins, to him belongs the victory and the spoils” [2 Samuel 2:14].

So Joab chose twelve of his young men, and Abner chose twelve of his young men, and those twelve young fellows fought there by the pool of Gibeon.  And all twenty-four of them fell down slain; the twelve from Abner and the twelve from Joab killed each other, and nothing was decided [2 Samuel 2:15-16].  Then when that happened and there was no resolution to the conflict between them, the armies of Abner and the armies of Joab entered into the fray and began to battle and to war.  And Joab’s men—as always, he never lost a battle—Joab’s men overcame Abner and his men [2 Samuel 2:17].

            Now, those three boys, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel had their eyes upon Abner [2 Samuel 2:18].  Asahel is described here in the Bible as being fleet like a deer, [could] run rapidly, swiftly—a ten-second man running a hundred yard dash, or maybe nine and four-tenths.  And he, running after Abner, overtook him, and Abner said to him, “Asahel, turn aside, turn aside, wherefore shall I slay thee.  Cease from following me.  Turn aside.”  But Asahel, the young fellow, pursued Abner and overtook him.

So Joab, I mean Abner, turned around and with the butt end of his spear, ran it clear through the pursuing Asahel.  And the boy died in his own blood.  And Joab and Abishai came and looked at Asahel, their younger brother, dead there with that butt end of the spear thrust through his body [2 Samuel 2:19-23].

           Now turn the page.  After war between the house of Abner and the house of David, Abner became disgusted with Ish-bosheth and said, “I will defect to David.”  And he went down to David, and David received him in forgiveness and with open arms.  And Abner returned to David all of the kingdom of the people of the Lord.  And they made a covenant there together.  And then David sent Abner away [2 Samuel 3:6-21].

And about that time Joab came from one of the wars, and somebody said to Joab, “Did you know Abner was here, and David has sent him away in peace?”   [Joab] went to David and said, “What hast thou done?  Do you not know that Abner is thy bitter enemy and has come to deceive thee?”  And without knowledge to David, Joab sent word to Abner saying, “The king will see thee again.”  So, unsuspecting, Abner came back and stood at the gate of Hebron, and Joab said, “May I say something to thee Abner?”  So Joab took him to the side of the gate, took out his sword and cut him in two, for the blood of Asahel his brother [2 Samuel 3:23-27].

And when David heard that, that Abner had been murdered by Joab, he fell into lamentation and composed that beautiful eulogy, a sentence of which I used in a funeral service yesterday afternoon, “Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel, and I am innocent of the blood of this man” [2 Samuel 3:38]. “His blood be on the house of Joab.  May there never be one lacking in Joab’s house who is not a leper or that does not lean on a staff or that does not fall by the sword or that does not have an issue” [2 Samuel 3: 29].  Abner and Joab, and I suppose not only for the slaying of his brother Asahel did Joab kill him, slay him, but Joab may also have been jealous for his own place because Abner was a great leader and a great captain of the host.

            All right, now the next time we come into the life Joab is in the tenth chapter of 2 Samuel.  The tenth chapter of 2 Samuel is a prelude to the eleventh chapter in order that you know why it was that David was at home and Joab was leading the army.  It came to pass, chapter 10, that the emissaries and the ambassadors of David are insulted by the king of the Ammonites.  So, there is war between Ammon and David.  And when David hears of all this, he sent Joab, verse 7, and all the hosts of mighty men [2 Samuel 10:1-7].

Now, the children of Ammon, when they saw that David was furious against them for the insult against his men; they got the Syrians to help them [2 Samuel 10:6].  And Joab was a military strategist of the first order.  Joab saw that the Syrians were down here on a plain, and that the Ammonites were gathered in and around the gates of their city [2 Samuel 10:8].  Now, you who have been in Israel and many of you have, we are talking about Ammon; Ammon, the capital city of the Jordanian kingdom.  In the days of the colonies, it was called Philadelphia.  Today, it is Ammon, the capital of the kingdom of Jordan.

And right at the base of it is the hotel in which you stay when you go there.  And the top of that hill is crowned with a wall all the way around it.  And that is the wall that Joab was besieging in this war against the Ammonites.  I took a picture of it and showed it to you when I came back from visiting Ammon.

            All right, there they are fighting.  And when Joab saw that at the foot of the hill on the plain down there below were the Syrians and that the Ammonites were on the hill and in the city, Joab said to Abishai, his brother, “Abishai, you take half the army and face against the city.  And I will take half of the army and face the Syrians.  And we will divide between them.”  I say, he was a strategist, a shrewd one.  And he says, “As we war, if you see that I need help, you turn and help me.  And as you war, as I see you need help, I will turn and help you” [2 Samuel 10:8-11].  So Joab and Abishai led their forces between the two.  And then Joab turned to the Syrians and Abishai turned to the Ammonites, and Joab puts her out.  Didn’t I say he never lost a battle?  Never.  And Joab puts her out, the Syrians.  And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians were fleeing away before Joab, then they fled before Abishai, and went into their citadel on top of the mountain there, and closed the gates.  And then, without any explanation of Joab at all, Joab returned from the children of Ammon and came to Jerusalem [2 Samuel 10:13-14]. 

            Now, all of that chapter is to introduce this one.  “And it came to pass, . . . that when the time,” chapter 11, “for kings to go to war, that David sent Joab” [2 Samuel 11:1].   Now you get the significance of that sentence.  David should have been out there in the battle.  He should have been in the war.  It came to pass, when the kings go forth for conquest and victory that David is at home.  He is in Jerusalem.  And he sends Joab in his place.  So, Joab is with the army besieging Rabbah, Ammon.  And David is at home [2 Samuel 11:1].

And while he is there, he calls in Bathsheba.  And she conceives and tells David, “I have a child” [2 Samuel 11:2-5].  And David sent to Joab, captain of the hosts, and said, “Send me Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba.”  So Joab sent Uriah to David.  And David said to Uriah, “You have been in the war, and you are weary with fight and with privation and with struggle.  Now wash thy hands and go home and stay for a while and rest thyself, then return.”   And Uriah replies, “I have taken a soldier’s oath that I will not turn aside until God gives us victory, for my fellow soldiers and Israel and Judah and the ark are in this conflict.  And I will not rest until God gives us victory” [2 Samuel 11:6-11].

So, David made Uriah drunk, and then sent him down to his house.  And he just stayed out on the porch, and slept there in the street that night.  “I will not break this soldier’s oath until God gives us victory” [2 Samuel 11:12-13].  And then, now you look, “And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah” [2 Samuel 11:14].  Now, listen to the next verse, 14-15: “And he wrote in the letter saying”—twice, first in 14, then in 15—he wrote a letter to Joab, wrote a letter to Joab, and he said in that letter, you gather a group of the army and storm that city gate right underneath that wall on the brow of that hill.  And then, in the fight, you withdraw your men; leave Uriah there below the citadel that he may die [2 Samuel 11:14-15].

            And so, Joab did exactly what David said.  He took some of the men right next to the wall to storm the gate, then withdrew them from around Uriah.   And he died [2 Samuel 11:16-17].  And then Joab sent and told David, and said, “Thy servant, thus and so and thus and so, and when you in wrath say why did you go so near the wall, don’t you remember Abimelech, when a woman threw a millstone on his head because he ventured foolishly near the wall before he took care of the archers and the people on the wall?  Why, then you say, “and also thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.  So, when the messenger came to report to David, he recounted the conflict and then added, “And thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead” [2 Samuel 11:18-24].

And then David said, “You tell Joab, do not let this thing displease thee for the sword kills one as well as another.  Just win the victory” [2 Samuel 12:25].   And Joab did.  And he put that letter in his pocket, put that letter in his pocket.  And all the days of David’s life, Joab had that letter about Uriah the Hittite.  Well, isn’t it a wonderful and unusual thing?

            Now, the last part of chapter 12: “And Joab fought against Rabbah, Ammon, and took the city” [2 Samuel 12:26].  Now look at Joab, “And Joab sent messagers to David, and said, I have fought against the city, and I have won it,  Now, lest, now lest the consummation of the victory be in my hands alone, and they say I won the battle, and the city be named for me; now you come up here and this last charge, you lead it to victory so that the city will be in your hands, and you will receive all of the acclaim of the victory [2 Samuel 12:27-28].  So David goes, and he takes the city that Joab has won [1 Samuel 14:2].  Aren’t these unusual things?  And it came to pass.

And then you have the story, and we are going to do that in another sermon, of Tamar the sister of Absalom and Amnon, David’s oldest son.  And you have the story here of the rape of Tamar by Amnon.  And Tamar is Absalom’s sister.  And after two whole full years, Absalom kept that in his mind.  And then upon a night, in a way, in a feast, he slays Amnon.  And Absalom flees and is gone three years; and the king loved Absalom [2 Samuel 13:1-39].

            Now, chapter 14: “Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom” [2 Samuel 14:1].  And whatever David wanted, Joab tried to get for him.  So Joab sent to Tekoah for a wise woman [1 Samuel 14:2].  And I haven’t time tonight to follow how he put words in the mouth of this wise woman, who took her problem to King David.  So when the woman got through and David had promised [1 Samuel 14:2-17], then here in verse 18: “The king answered and said to the woman, Hide not from me, I pray thee, the thing that I shall ask thee. And the woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.  And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all of this? [2 Samuel 14:18-19].  Didn’t he put those words in your mouth?  I can see his shrewd mind and his ingenious hand.  I can see it in back of all this.  Didn’t Joab tell you to do this and say these words?”  And the woman said, “He told me every syllable of the words I was to say” [2 Samuel 14-19-20].  And the king said, “Go thy way.”  And, so he called for Joab, verse 21, and said, “Joab, I have done this thing I promised: now therefore, bring the young man Absalom again” [2 Samuel 14:21].   So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.  And the king said, “He can be here in the city, but he is not to see my face.”  And for two whole full years, Absalom dwelt in Jerusalem and never saw King David [2 Samuel 14:24-28].

            Then Absalom sent for Joab and said, “Come here and see me, for I have been here for two years, and I am like a criminal and a culprit and an outcast and a leper, and I don’t even see my father David.  Come here and help me.”  And Joab would not go.  And then he sent for Joab a second time, and Joab would not go the second time [2 Samuel 14:29].  So, Absalom had a field next to Joab’s field, and it was the ripe barley harvest, and Absalom set fire to Joab’s field and burned it up [2 Samuel 14:30].  And then Joab went to see Absalom.  And when he came Joab said, “And why did you burn my field?”  And Absalom said, “Because I sent for you twice and you would not come.  And this was the only way I knew to get you here” [2 Samuel 14:31-32].  And Absalom said, “You go to my father and you ask him why is it that these years I am here thus and so.”  And so Joab went to David, and the king said, “Then bring him to my home and heart.”  And the king kissed Absalom [2 Samuel 14:32-33].  And that is the way chapter 14 closes.  And the king kissed Absalom, and Absalom is in the heart of David again [2 Samuel 14:33].  Now we are going to skip through the rebellion of Absalom [2 Samuel 15:1-37].  That will come in another sermon.

            All right, now look what Absalom did.  We are going follow in chapter 17 now: “And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host, instead of Joab” [2 Samuel 17:25].  And Amasa was the son of Ithraan and Abigail who was the daughter of Nahash, the sister to Zeruiah, Joab’s mother.  So Joab and Amasa are cousins, their mothers are sisters.  And Amasa [is] now in the conquest of the kingdom by Absalom, the most handsome, and talented, and gracious, and ingratiating son that any father ever had.  Absalom has won the kingdom, and David is in exile in Mahanaim on the other side of Jordan, up there toward Gilead.  And Amasa is the captain of the host, having warred against David and having won the kingdom by the side of Absalom.

All right, then you have the story of Absalom, riding through a thicket; and his beautiful, luxurious, heavy hair caught in the bow of the tree [2 Samuel 18:9].  And a certain man saw it and told Joab, and said, “I saw Absalom caught in a tree by his head.”  And Joab said, “Why didn’t you slay him there on the spot?”  And the man said, “Because David said touch not a hair of his head, lay not thy hand upon Absalom” [2 Samuel 18:10-12].

And Joab said, “Where is he?”  And the man told him.  And Joab took three darts, and when he saw Absalom hanging there by his hair caught in the tree, he took one dart and thrust it through Absalom’s heart!  And took the second dart and thrust it through his heart!  And took the third dart and thrust it through his heart!  And then they cut him down out of the tree and put him in a pit and raised a pile of stones upon him, and told David [2 Samuel 18:19-32].

And David lamented [2 Samuel 18:33].  And it was told Joab, “The king shut himself up, and he is weeping over Absalom, and the people are discouraged” [2 Samuel 19:1-4].  And Joab came into the king’s house and said, “What is this thing that thou art doing?”  And look how he closes the speech.  “If Absalom had lived and all of us had died, then thou had been well pleased!  Now, King David,” he said, “you stand up and wash your face, and anoint your hair, and sit in the king’s gate, that the people may rejoice in this great victory.”  So the king arose and sat in the gate [2 Samuel 19:5-8].

And then David did something.  He said, “But the captain of my host will be Amasa, and not Joab.”  So Amasa, who was the rebellion leader under Absalom [2 Samuel 17:25], is made captain of the hosts of the armies of David [2 Samuel 19:13].

            So we have in the twentieth chapter the rebellion of Sheba [2 Samuel 20:1-2].  And the king says to Amasa, the captain of his host, “Gather the army within three days.  And flee after them, and flee after Sheba, and quell this rebellion.” But Amasa delayed, so Joab took his army and followed after Sheba [2 Samuel 20:6-7].  And on the way, he met Amasa [2 Samuel 20:8].

And when he met Amasa, Joab had a very typical Eastern robe and girded about, pulled up, bound around the middle part of his body with a girdle in order that he might move freely, that the flowing garment would not hinder his steps.  And in that girdle he had a sword.  And when he met Amasa, whether accidentally or whether on purpose, the Book does not say; but when he met Amasa, he dropped the sword or the sword fell out of the girdle and was lying on the ground at the feet of Amasa.  And Joab reached down there before Amasa and picked up the sword in his left hand.  And then he stood up to greet Amasa.  And he put his right hand, holding the beard it says here, that is an unusual Oriental custom, I suppose then.  He put his right hand on the beard of Amasa to kiss him.  And Amasa never even noticed the sword in Joab’s left hand.  And so when Joab held Amasa by his right hand, held his beard by his right hand to kiss him, and when he bent over to kiss him, holding him by his beard with his right hand, Joab took that sword in his left hand and cut him in two!  And Amasa wallowed in his own blood [2 Samuel 20:8-12].  Oh, I would have wanted to be Joab’s friend!  So he slays Amasa as he slew Abner [2 Samuel 3:27].

            Then he carried through this siege against Sheba and besieges the city of Abel, in which Sheba shut himself up with his army [2 Samuel 20:15-22].  And a wise woman—isn’t it remarkable how many of these you find in the Bible?—and a wise woman, and a wise woman came to the wall and said, “Hear you, hear you, I pray, Joab.”  And Joab came within hearing distance.  And the woman said, “Why would you devour a whole people of innocence?  What is it that you want?”  And Joab said, “If you will throw Sheba’s head over the wall, we will sound the trumpet and end the battle.”  And the woman said his head will be thrown over the wall.  She gathered the city together.  She told him this was the way to be saved, to preserve themselves, so, they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it over the wall to Joab.  And when Joab saw that Sheba’s head was at his feet, he sounded the trumpet, and the battle was over, and the rebellion was quelled [2 Samuel 20:15-22].

            Now, turn to 1 Kings.  David is old [1 Kings 1:1].  This is the end of the life of Joab.  David is old.  And he had sworn to Bathsheba that her son Solomon shall be his successor and shall reign in his stead [1 Kings 1:15-17].  But Adonijah was the rightful heir to the crown.

Remember last Sunday night, or was it the Sunday night before, I named to you the four sons in their order, the four sons of David?  First, was Amnon, second was Chileab, third was Absalom, and fourth was Adonijah [2 Samuel 3:2-4].  Amnon is dead; Absalom slew him because he raped his sister, Tamar [2 Samuel 13:1-33].  Chileab is never mentioned in any genealogy, so he must have died as a child.  Absalom was slain because of his rebellion against David by Joab himself [2 Samuel 18:9-15].  And the fourth son is Adonijah.  So Adonijah is the rightful heir to the crown, and he should have been king, but David has sworn that the kingdom shall belong to Solomon, the son of Bathsheba [1 Kings 1:17-18].

All right, now first chapter in 1 Kings; “And Adonijah conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they followed Adonijah, helping him.  But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, did not follow Joab and Adonijah [1 Kings 1:7- 8].  So we turn the page.

You have Nathan the prophet coming in to David [1 Kings 1:22-27], and Bathsheba coming to David.  And David avows that the kingdom shall be Solomon’s [1 Kings 1:28-30].   So they gather together, and at the Gihon spring, at that spring I told you about at the foot of the mountain upon which Jerusalem is built, there Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon to be king over Israel in David’s place [1 Kings 1:38-39].  And, in those days Adonijah, instead of allaying his aspirations for the crown, [he] sought to further them, and Joab helping [1 Kings 1:7].  And when that came to pass, David says to Solomon, “Thou knowest what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner…and unto Amasa…therefore, do not let his head go down to the grave in peace” [1 Kings 2:5-6].  That is David’s final charge to his son Solomon after he has been anointed king.

            So, it came to pass, in this second Adonijah rebellion that Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest, and made Zadok priest [1 Kings 2:27, 35].  And tidings came to Joab.  And Joab, who had not followed Absalom, but he followed Adonijah; and Joab fled into the tabernacle and caught hold on the horns of the altar [1 Kings 2:28].

And King Solomon was sent word that Joab is in the tabernacle holding to the horns of the altar.  What shall I do?  And Solomon turned to Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the captain of Solomon’s hosts, and said, “Go into the sanctuary itself and slay him.  So Benaiah came into the tabernacle of the Lord and said to Joab, Come forth!”  And Joab said, “I will not.  But I will die here in the house of the Lord” [1 Kings 2:29-30].  So Benaiah the captain of the host of Solomon, entered into the sacred place, and there by the altar, he cut down Joab.  And he died.  “So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, went up and fell upon him and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness [1 Kings 2:31-34].  And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar” [1 Kings 2:35].

            Well, well, I have one comment to make.  It is this.  I don’t know how you might think because when I summarize a story like this it is very easy for me to give a wrong impression of a man.  You have got to read it yourself and study it.  Joab was one of the ablest and one of the most capable men that ever lived.  He was a man of heroic proportion.  He was a man of great abilities.  He never lost a battle, whether he fought against one or against ten.  Whether he fought against a thousand or a hundred thousand, Joab never lost a battle.  He was a man of tremendous parts.

Second, in his whole life, all he did was in obedience to the will of his lord and king, David.  He fought David’s battles.  He tried to sense David’s heart.  And he tried to minister to the great king.  And he did it above any other man in the earth.

The reason David was the king that he was and had the kingdom over which he reigned was because of the ability and the fidelity and the devotion of Joab.  He was a man of Homeric proportions.  Even in his love for Adonijah, he was standing for what he thought was right in the succession of the kingdom.  He was a great, great man.  But my comment, every man has feet of clay, every man.  Joab, as loyal as he was, as dutiful as he was, as devoted as he was, as mighty as he was; Joab had an insane envy and jealousy that burned his soul out.

And when he thought of the prospect of Abner being captain of the host in his stead, he slew Abner! [2 Samuel 3:27].  And when he saw Amasa placed over the host of Israel in his stead, he slew Amasa! [2 Samuel 20:9-10].  That’s Joab.  And David, the man after God’s own heart [2 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22], and David, with all that pleased God in him, writes that letter to Joab and says this Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, in the war, take him to the gate, withdraw your men and let him die slain by the sword of blasphemers and unbelievers [2 Samuel 11:14-15].

David and Absalom, a man of beauty and of glory, the most personable and lovable of all of the men that ever was born in Israel, and the people loved him and followed him.  Absalom in his heart, in his heart [was] a traitor to his father David [2 Samuel 15:1-37].  It doesn’t matter.  If he is a man, his feet are of clay.  If she is a woman, if she is a woman, feet of clay.  If he is a great man or [she] a great woman, in the enmeshed life and character of all humanity there is that streak, that backdrop, that depravity, that weakness, that sin, that iniquity, that shortcoming that is the curse over the whole human race.  And it is in you.

            “Yeah, but pastor, you don’t know how good I am.  You don’t know the sterling virtue of my character.  Why, I’m the best man that ever lived.  I’m the best woman that you ever saw.”  But there is not a man here, and there is not a woman here, that if I had a grinding camera and took a picture of the inside of your soul and the thoughts of your heart and put it up here on the screen like those who gathered around the adulteress woman to stone her to death [John 8:3-9], one by one, they would be going out this door and out that one and out that one, all of us.

For you see, the Book says we are all sinners, and come short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23].  And Joab needs a Savior.  And David needs a Savior.  And your pastor needs a Savior.  And his deacons need a Savior.  And the whole world of lost humanity needs a Savior—all of us, all of us.  Some of us commit this wrong, and some of us commit that wrong, and some of us commit this sin, and some of us commit the other kind; and not one of us does it all, but all of us do it some, falling short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23].

And when a man humbles himself and comes to Jesus, he has found the One who can save him from his sin [Matthew 1:21], and wash the stain out of his soul, and set him someday in the presence of God without spot, without blemish [Ephesians 5:27]; this is the ableness of God.  That’s why we entreat and why we sing these hymns of invitation.  And that is why we bid you to the Lord tonight.

            This whole church is a church of sinners saved by grace, all of us, all of us sinners, plain unadulterated, downright, out and out sinners, all of us [Romans 3:23], just sinners saved by the grace of God [Ephesians 2:8], turning in repentance and faith to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world [John 1:29].  And that is our invitation to you.  In our company, looking in faith to Jesus [Hebrews 12:2], would you come and take our Lord as your Lord, bow in His presence, call upon His name, ask Him to save and to keep you forever, would you do it tonight?  Is there a couple you, who would come; or one somebody you into the fellowship of the church?  A youth, a child, a whole family coming by letter, coming by baptism, coming by statement, coming by a confession of faith in Jesus, as the Spirit of God shall lead the way and open the door, would you make it tonight?  “Here I am preacher, here I come,” while we stand and while we sing.

JOAB, CAPTAIN OF THE HOST

DR. W. A. CRISWELL

2 Samuel 2:25-31

5-28-61

I. Joab and Abner

II. Joab slays Abner

III. Ammonite war, death of Uriah

1.    Joab and Abishai in battle with Syria and Ammonites

2.    David and Bathsheba incident

3.    David sends letter to Joab to have Uriah murdered in battle

IV. Joab and Absalom

V. Joab and Adonijah